PHILADELPHIA, PA- This Thanksgiving will mark the 9th year that the HEADstrong Foundation™ will prepare and serve the traditional holiday feast to more than 400 patients and families receiving inpatient care at the Abramson Cancer Center of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Annually, the Colleluori families alongside of a dedicated core of volunteers are involved in preparing and serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal. HEADstrong’s annual Thanksgiving feast is part of the organization’s HEADtable program, which serves meals, provides outlets of entertainment and recreational activities for in-patients and their families receiving cancer care at Philadelphia based hospitals. Click here to view a special video on the HEADtable Program.
This year, supporters have the ability to donate a meal for $25.00. Click here to give the gift of Thanksgiving meal to someone spending the holiday in the hospital.
Spending the Thanksgiving holiday at Abramson Cancer Center is a reality all too familiar to the Colleluori family, who spearhead the organization. It was here that the family shared their last Thanksgiving with their son, brother and HEADstrong founder Nicholas Colleluori who succumbed to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma just two days after the holiday in 2006. During the last days of his life, Nicholas asked his family to see his vision of the HEADstrong Foundation™ into fruition and to help gather loved ones by serving and sharing the traditional meal with patients and families on his favorite holiday.
“Thanksgiving was our Nick’s favorite holiday. Serving and sharing the feast has been a privilege that we as a family and organization are honored to provide. It has become a tradition for our family and it has sparked our HEADtable program. Through doing this we have met so many wonderful people, many whom which have joined us in our efforts. It is very encouraging for patients to see survivors working alongside of us because if there is anything that we can share with them during Thanksgiving, it is that they are not alone and that there is hope.” Michael Colleluori, HF Vice President and Nick’s Brother.
During the day HEADstrong President Cheryl Colleluori accompanied by the group of patient advocates travel the floors to delivery comfort kits and personally meet with every patient and their family to listen and provide support, empathy and a loving embrace.
“Spending the holidays in the hospital can be incredibly hard and depressing for patients. As a “family first” organization that exists to improve the quality of life for patients, we embrace the importance of the family support network and the role that it plays on a patients wellbeing. Our hope is that patients find strengthen and inspiration in being around the ones they love and are able to temporarily escape from the realities of being inpatient for treatment. We have walked in the shoes of every patient and family spending the holiday on these floors and we want them to know that they are not alone.” Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President and Nick’s Mom
About HEADstrong Foundation
The HEADstrong Foundation™ is a 501(c)(3) committed to improving the quality of life for cancer patients and their families through providing essential programs and services.
HEADstrong™ is an athletic rooted organization that serves the cancer community by granting direct financial assistance to those financially impacted as a result of the disease, by providing complimentary long-term housing and amenities for those traveling to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for cancer related treatments through Nick’s House™, by funding innovative cancer research through the Nicholas E. Colleluori Lymphoma research fund, by serving family meals and offering outlets of entertainment, by providing fresh groceries to patients being discharged from lengthy hospital stays, by delivering comfort kits to newly hospitalized patients preparing for treatment or transplant, and by lending an arm of support through their peer to peer advocacy group.
The blueprints for the Foundation were conceptualized by Nicholas “HEAD” Colleluori in 2006, from his hospital bed while he underwent treatment for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, which ultimately claimed his life. Today, Nick’s vision is being fulfilled through the relentless efforts of his family, athletes and supporters across the country uniting in the fight against cancers.
For more information on the HEADstrong Foundation™ and how you can make a difference go to www.HEADstrong.org.